A Universal Basic Income (UBI) is set to be tested in Wales, with adults around the country receiving a lump sum of money regardless of their financial condition.
The theory, which has long been promoted by the left in response to concerns about automation and an aging population, is that the plan will cover the basic costs of living, allowing more disposable income to be pumped into the economy and increasing the standard of living for those covered.
The pilot will “see if the basic income commitments are actually delivered,” according to First Minister Mark Drakeford.
The Conservatives, on the other hand, have slammed the proposals, claiming that Wales should not be used as a “petri dish” for left-wing policy experiments
The idea, which was once considered a fringe concept reserved only for utopian idealists or radical thinkers, has seen a surge in popularity in recent years, thanks to celebrity supporters such as Elon Musk.
In addition, Labour’s general election manifesto for 2019 pledged a broader investigation of Universal Basic Income in the United Kingdom.
Unemployed citizens in Finland were paid the equivalent of around £500 a month for two years under other similar programs around the world.
The participants reported feeling less depressed and happier as a result of the program, even though it did not help them find jobs.
Sophie Howe, Wales’ future generations commissioner, has previously called for a pilot.
She said: “Signaling basic income as a priority for the new government is an incredibly significant commitment by the first minister to tackling Wales’ poverty and health inequalities – which cause lasting damage to the health and prospects of individuals, families and communities.
It’s a huge moment for the campaign, which I’ve been proud to be a part of, and the growing support for a fairer way of allowing people to meet their basic needs.
The current system isn’t working – Wales’ commitment to exploring a basic income once again proves it’s often the small countries that can be world leading and make the biggest changes”.